How to Help Someone Think and Work More Safely
Most people have sat through safety training at some point in their lives – and most of them haven’t felt particularly motivated to take it to heart. Whether they’re being trained on how to operate heavy equipment, or they’re attending a safety presentation on office ergonomics, workers often have a difficult time feeling invested in workplace safety. Maybe they feel like all that’s necessary is their own common sense, or that the people presenting the safety training aren’t in touch with what their job really entails.
On the one hand, you have the fact that any organization would benefit from a strong safety culture. On the other hand, you have the fact that some workers aren’t all that interested in participating. What’s the solution? It requires a multi-faceted approach and plenty of dedication, but it’s certainly possible with the right strategies.
Explore this Article:
- How to Encourage Participation in Safety Culture
- Why Promoting Safety in the Workplace is So Important
- The Benefits of Improving Employee Safety are Always Worth the Costs
Workplace safety can be enlightening if done properly but patronizing if done poorly. Yet, it’s essential to make sure everyone has the required awareness. This means boring repetitive lessons for some who already have a good idea of the hazards and safety measures.
Even if it’s just the new hire who doesn’t take their initial safety coaching seriously, the following strategies can help them change their priorities to be more focused on workplace safety.
Use Relatable Examples First
Before introducing training videos, companies have seen great success with allowing their veteran staff to discuss relatable stories with the trainees. This sets the stage for incentivized learning. If employees hear of close calls with machines they will be using, it gives them a reason to appreciate the training course they are about to watch.
Furthermore, some people just learn better with real-life examples. With that in mind, toolbox talks are a great way to refresh training course lessons and keep the content relatable to things the specialists are exposed to daily.
Let’s be honest, some safety training courses are out-of-touch. On the other end of the spectrum, you have training courses that are so boring, they could just about cure insomnia. Fortunately, those aren’t the only options.
Safety courses can also be fun, relevant, and full of actionable information that helps people work more safely along with entertaining the ones who already know many of the procedures. The key is to provide training courses that make workers feel like they have a stake in workplace safety, rather than courses that invite ridicule or put everyone to sleep.
Giving employees a voice is an effective way to make them feel valued, and this is especially important in matters of safety. There should be an established process for employees to report injuries, near-miss incidents, or any other lapse in safety protocol.
These reports shouldn’t just go into an administrative black hole, though; employees should also be informed about what’s being done to address their concerns. To ensure that employees don’t avoid making these reports from a fear of reprisal, it’s recommended to allow reports to be made anonymously if desired.
There are many conditions or behaviours that could constitute a safety hazard, and employees shouldn’t have to work in a place where these are considered the norm. In fact, employees are often in a better position to identify these risks than even the most involved managers or supervisors. By fostering a culture of “see something, say something”, you’ll be encouraging employees to personally invest in making their own workplace safer.
As you might imagine, a safety incentive program is used to incentivize employees to prioritize workplace safety. Some practical examples of this could be workers earning “safety bucks” after reporting a safety hazard, or the entire workforce getting extra vacation time after achieving a target TRIF (Total Recordable Injury Frequency) rate. While a safety incentive program can’t replace a company’s safety culture as a whole, it certainly deserves consideration as part of the big picture.
A fairly common mistake is to come up with a plan to improve workplace safety, roll it out with much fanfare, and then expect everything to run on autopilot. That might seem viable on paper, but it fails to take the importance of continued employee engagement into account. If a company wants to convince its employees that their safety is truly valued, it’s key to demonstrate that consistent efforts are being made to stay on track. This could mean adjusting strategies based on toolbox talks, adding new training courses, or making additional investments in safety-related equipment. If a company wants employees to participate in building a robust safety culture, they’ll have to demonstrate that same commitment to workplace safety.
Safety in the workplace has a number of benefits to both employees and companies, so it’s crucial to get everyone on the same team when it comes to fostering a safety culture. Of all the benefits of workplace safety, these are the highlights:
- Greater employee satisfaction
- Increased employee retention
- Easier recruitment of new talent
- Recognition within the industry for solid safety practices
- Fewer lawsuits and worker’s comp claims
- Less money lost due to absenteeism or training replacements
- Reduced instances of injury or fatality
Promoting safety in the workplace is usually a complex task, and the payoffs may take a while to become evident. Even so, the long-term benefits of a solid safety culture can be transformative in any work environment. Whether you’re talking about a construction company, a law firm, or anything in between, the benefits will always outweigh the costs when it comes to improving employee safety.